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Part Two: South India

Chennai and Mamallapuram

Everything transportation wise with getting to and from the airports and flying from Kolkata to Mumbai and then to Chennai went really smooth. The flights were only about two hours each so while it was a pain to not have a direct flight it was still ok. The problem was that Thom was getting really sick especially when we landed in Chennai. All our major medicine and the first aide kit were packed in our bigger bags and there was no where in the airport terminals that sold pharmaceuticals. When we did finally land Megan and I got the bags and headed top the prepaid taxi counter so we could get a ride to our hotel. In the notes it said it was only about a 20 minute ride but it turned out to be almost another hour.

When we did finally reach the Hotel we knew we were going to to miss our group meeting that was at 2:00. Our new guide Chetan left a message for us that he should be back at 9:00 and would check in with us. It was about 6:45 and when I got Thom upstairs he had a really bad fever and was burning up. I got him some pain medicine to reduce the fever and water that I added electrolytes to. I was pretty nervous because the hotel manager said that if we wanted a doctor we would have to go to the hospital and I kinda wanted to avoid that all together if we could especially since we hadn't even met our new group leader yet. Luckily after Thom got some medicine in him his fever was starting to come down so I figured he would be ok. That night I took my sheet and slept opposite of Thom with fingers crossed that I wasn't going to catch this next. Before we left Kolkata our friend Peter seemed to have had this too.
It was 9:30 and I was already dozing when Chetan called to apologize that they had gotten detained and got back late and we agreed it would be fine to meet in the morning.

The next morning we had to be ready at 6:45a.m. Eeek! It wasn't too bad. I had taken some Capri and Ibuprofen just to be safe since my stomachs hadn't been co-operating the past week anyway and so I felt fine. Thom was looking a lot better as well so that was good. We met Chetan who seemed great and found out that two other guys Dhilip and Sam would also be accompanying us as Chetan was helping to train them for Intrepid. Yay! Neil, Diane and Megan were still with us and join us were two girls and two guys each from Australia as well as one girl from UK, another lady who teachers English from Canada and one more girl from Canada now living in Australia.

We had a small bus with just us and the ride that was suppose to be 2 hours was only about one-one and a half Sweet! Thom slept most of the way.
As we were driving we could see the ocean on one side. There was little traffic and people generally drove with in the lines of the road. So much more chill than North India.

One typically can understand by simple sights and sounds, the big air of difference between Southern Indian with rest of the parts of the country. The basic culture of south is essentially Dravidian culture, quite different from North India's Indo - East European culture.

We arrived in Mamallapuram and at our very very basic hotel above this really great local restaurant. We were only staying one night here in this small town.
Mamallapuram dates back to the Tamil Pallava dynasty in the 7th-9th century. The structures here, mostly carved straight out of granite, are among the oldest existing examples of Dravidian (South Indian) architecture.

After we got settled we met downstairs for of course some chai. (LOVE that stuff) Thom while better and no more fever,still wasn't one hundred percent and decided to just eat some yogurt or curd rather and some plain rice and rest at the hotel. So I joined our group and Chetan for a city walk. First we went to one of the second largest single stone relief carvings in the world.

Then we saw "Krishna's Butterball" a huge bolder that looks like it should roll or fall but doesn't.

Then we took a short walk to the Shore Temple
The Shore Temple is so named because it overlooks the shore of the Bay of Bengal. It is a structural temple, built with blocks of granite, dating from the 8th century AD.
The Shore Temples configuration of the two Shiva shrines with the small Vishnu shrine in between illustrates an attempt to balance the different, competing religious requirements.

Goats munch on flowers decorating a car

Next we took a walk down to a restaurant overlooking the beach for lunch.

My favorite Cows on the beach!
They catch tons of fresh fish prawns and lobsters daily and the restaurants will actually bring you out a platter of what was caught and you choose exactly which fish you want.

Afterwards the group took another short walk to the 5 Rathas
Pancha Rathas is an example of monolith Indian rock-cut architecture dating from the late 7th century.

Each temple is a monolith, carved whole from a rock outcropping of pink granite. The five monolithic shrines are named after the Pandavas and Draupadi. Four shrines have pyramidal roofs. The shrines represent diversity of Dravidian architecture of the time and it is likely that their original design traces back to wood constructions.
And a stone elephant :-)

We took the cleanest and most friendliest train ride to Maduri. It was 8 hours during the morning/day but we had sleeper cars so we could stretch out and nap.

I am a little behind in the blog right now as we didn't have wifi in the last few places so I will try to catch up on Maduri and now Varkala

Posted by Kelly Rose 03:15 Archived in India

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So glad to hear you are both feeling better. Travelling while ill is no lark. Wishing you better "songs" with more appealing results. Take care and know we love you. Mom and Dad

by Mom and Dad

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